Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gender (and Body) Appropriate Medical Treatment

This is a topic that runs through my mind from time to to so I think I might mention it here. As trans men and women we strive to be accepted as who we are on the inside. I know for me it was a great feeling to get my drivers license changed. It was like finally! I have an F in sex!!! Many of us also attempt to live in some level of stealth, or at least divulge person information in a very strict as needed basis. I hope I can make a case here that there at least one venue where it may not be in your best interest to hide personal history.

Related: Transgender Patient Care

Despite having had surgery and jumping through the legal hoops and having been on hormones for years there is still one reality. I am an XY woman. My body has developed and gone through puberty as a male... My broad shoulders and male pattern baldness are a testament to that... But so are my larger heart and lungs, smaller kidneys, the fact that I have male sex organs (even a prostate post surgery) and more red blood cells. Many of these things place me square in the risk factor for male related disease and some protect me from disease that typically effect females. Also, as they point out in this article even effective medication dosages can vary between men and women, and for a number of reasons: size, chemical composition of blood, organ size... etc. So what this means is just because you transition and even have surgery you still need to not neglect the reality of your circumstances. I get a prostate exam when it is appropriate!

In addition to all of this men and women both have risk factors for certain condition that can be genetic. For instance, if you are a trans man and both your mother and sister have had breast cancer I don't think I need to tell you that you have a VERY high risk. Conversely, if you are a trans woman in the same situation (mom and sister with breast cancer) hormones may be a very dangerous path for you to take. The same things apply to any number of diseases. Women are typically at risk for auto immune disease, men are more at risk for some neurological diseases.

Does these risks tie into hormones or surgery? Maybe, maybe not. When you transition do you open yourself up to the health risks associated with the sex you are transitioning to? Maybe??? In the end only a doctor can answer your specific questions as to what your transition means for you and your over health. I for one am certainly not gonna risk my life over hiding a secrete that could potentially risk my life or put me at risk for unneeded medical care or even exclude me from very necessary screenings. I tell every doctor who examines me that I am a post op trans woman....

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

After Transition... Now What?

This post is geared towards people who have transitioned, are considering it, or are in the process of doing so. I completely understand that transition and surgery are not markers of success and not everyone is interested in it (SPOILER: it is actually partially the point of this post). However, if you are then please take some time to consider the following:

What Happens Next?!

Google states that the word "Transition" means the following:
  1. 1.
    the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

    "students in transition from one program to another"

  1. 1.
    undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.

    "the network ought to be built by the federal government and then transitioned into private industry"
I have written about setting realistic transition goals before, but I want to go into a little more detail about one aspect here and that is what happens after transition.

The simple answer to this, and I mean this in the best most exciting way possible, is that life goes on and you should be excited for it and plan!

As of writing this post in Fall of 2017 it has been almost 9 years since I started my journey. As far as what I have done in this time regarding my gender / sex: I have started hormones, changed my name, had surgery, got my drivers license, SSN, passport gender markers changed, and have spent thousands on getting hair removed... Am I still transitioning? Personally I do not think so, at least not in the classic transgender sense. In the more metaphysical sense, sure. We are all always transitioning from one place, time, thing, to another. In that sense we all transition (even cisgender people) and we will never stop. But in regards to my journey from living as a man to living as a woman I think I have long wrapped up that journey... Or have I?

Part of me always feels a bit off, a bit not quite done. It is most likely the years of missing social upbringing, but every day I live is one more day I learn. Does any of this make me less of a woman? I do not think so. I know plenty of cis women who were not "raised" like girls or in a traditional feminine way. This argument against trans identities (used my some anti-trans groups) is nonsense.

Regardless, one thing we need to remember aside from the previous thoughts, and I try to remind people I talk to about (and myself) this often, is that transition is a path to something and that on the other side there needs to be goals as well. We spend so much time and energy hyper focused on the journey it is easy to miss that life goes on on the other side. I know for me I still struggle sometimes with fitting in but I for the most part have tried to focus on other things: my career, travel, etc. It is easy to fall into a "now what?" mentality and this can leave you feeling depressed or with doubts. If you prepare and focus on more then just the one goal of transitioning however, you may find this all might be easier to manage once your thoughts stop drifting from "what if" on to "what now".

Some things I have done since I started transitioning:
  • Got my college degree
  • Started traveling a lot more
  • Moved to Chicagoland and started being a food snob :)
I am not suggesting you uproot your life, but you should be prepared to do something. Transition should be exactly as it is defined. A period of time that you take to move from living one way to another and it should slowly start to morph from your gender to more exciting (and mundane) every day things.

As always, your comments and experiences are appreciated!

Monday, November 20, 2017

From PRINCESSJOULES - MTF Post Op Dilation 101

This is a great video that goes over post op dilation... Not to much I can add except my surgeon suggest I use mineral oil instead of lube as it will not build up inside. Seems to work great so that is what I use.

Also, make sure you keep your dilators clean. I use baby shampoo to wash them off.

Other than that I suggest yo just watch the video and add your thoughts in the comments :)